From before the Middle Ages, gastronomic fairs and markets have been held in Catalonia. They started as necessary meeting points between merchants and buyers, but also became points of social interaction.
The markets as we know them today emerged as a response to the scarcity of supplies as a result of the concentrations of people: dates had to be arranged for the commercial exchange. One of the oldest Catalan markets to have continued is that of Bellcaire, from the 14th century.
The fairs, on the other hand, relied on livestock movement and the trade routes, were linked to religious festivals and would be held annually. Currently there are still villages like Guimerà, Peratallada, Batea, Vic or Montblanc which, once a year, hold these fairs to recall those of the Middle Ages.
The appearance and the produce in markets and fairs in Catalonia are very different today. What has not changed is the character of a traditional and social event, and the fact that they are synonymous with a range of quality goods. In addition, there is now an extensive calendar of fairs and markets across the country, as well as gastronomic routes which have been created to promote the local products.